What is Clinical Decision Support?

Clinical decision support (CDS) is a systematic computerized approach developed to assist medical practitioners in making healthcare-related decisions under specific clinical circumstances. CDS applications are based on clinical practice guidelines, which are generally the result of months, sometimes decades, of major observational and interventional studies that have generated scientifically valid recommendations on diagnostics, screening tests and treatment modalities.

Due to the vast number of potential clinical scenarios as well as continuous scientific progress, clinical practice guidelines are prone to rapid change. They quickly become outdated and/or too voluminous to handle in their current format, and therefore problematic to consult in real-time. In an attempt to target these issues, computerized clinical decision support applications have been developed and integrated into the clinical workflow process. These applications can analyze healthcare data at the point of care, thus delivering timely, accurate, guideline-based and personalized recommendations that improve the safety, quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.